“Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. And when they ask you, ‘why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every knee become as weak as water.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
— Ezekiel 21:6-7
Ezekiel 21 contains one of the hardest messages that Ezekiel was given by God to proclaim to Israel. It was a message full of severe judgment and wrath against a sinful people. However, before proclaiming the message to the people, God tells Ezekiel how to proclaim the message; groaning with a broken heart and bitter grief. Ezekiel was not to go out in arrogance and anger proclaiming judgment to sinners; he was to go out with tears and a broken heart of compassion in order to proclaim repentance to God’s people.
On one side of the spectrum, there are those who refuse to warn of God’s judgment. However, too often, evangelicals are found on the opposite side of the spectrum when they are quick to talk about hell without shedding a single tear for the fate of the lost.
Next time you talk about hell and the fate of the lost, do it with a broken heart. Before speaking to people about the gospel of Jesus Christ, groan in bitter grief over those who would otherwise spend eternity in hell. Cry out to God for the salvation of the lost, then speak the gospel with a heart of compassion.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times that I have whimsically talked about hell. Help me to understand the severity of your wrath so that it would move me to speak with compassion and a broken heart for the lost. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN!